LOS ANGELES -- (KTLA) -- After police dogs, a helicopters and a dive team searched a lake area in Santa Barbara County in an effort to find a 5-year-old San Gabriel Valley boy who went missing, a sheriff's lieutenant on scene Tuesday said investigators have uncovered evidence that his father was there but the child was not.
The search for Aramazd Andressian Jr. led investigators to Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, where authorities learned that the boy’s father went on Friday, April 21.
Investigators searched the area around the lake “in hopes of locating any witnesses or evidence leading to the whereabouts of the missing child,” stated a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department news release issued Tuesday morning. Aerial video from Sky5 showed a sheriff's helicopter flying above the lake, with divers and at least one boat in the water near Tequepis Point.
At the lake, sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza said evidence and surveillance video showed the boy's father, 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr., had been at the lake, but his son had not.
Mendoza said investigators are still optimistic that the boy will be found.
Andressian Sr. has retained a criminal defense attorney, Daniel A. Nardoni of Pasadena, according to a statement from a family law attorney who represents Andressian Sr.
"Aramazd, his family and counsel are fully cooperating with the police in their efforts to locate little Ara," said the statement, issued Tuesday afternoon by Lizarraga Law of Ojai.
The statement asked for privacy for the family, saying they are "emotionally reeling from the fact they have a missing 5 year old grandson/nephew, as well as a family member in custody."
The father and son were seen on video at Disneyland on the night of Thursday, April 20. They left the Anaheim theme park after midnight, a sheriff's official told KTLA Monday.
The father was found unconscious in Arroyo Park in South Pasadena on the morning of Saturday, April 22. The boy was nowhere to be found, and the father gave contradictory statements to police, authorities said.
Andressian Sr. was arrested Saturday and investigators have searched his South Pasadena home.
The boy was last seen by his mother in a Skype conversation on April 18. The child’s parents are in the midst of a divorce but share custody of the boy. The mother notified authorities her son was missing when the boy and his father did not appear for a custody transfer on Saturday morning in San Marino.
Lake Cachuma Recreation Area is in the mountains about 15 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. The Sheriff's Department search was wrapping up there Tuesday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Department's Homicide Division is working with the South Pasadena Police Department on the investigation. The San Barbara County Sheriff's Office and park rangers helped with the search at Lake Cachuma.